Approximately 60 people showed up yesterday to watch Representative Steve King (R-Iowa) brandish a plastic bucket of acorns as his colleagues Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) and Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) breathlessly described community-organizing organization and all-around GOP bugaboo ACORN as a "criminal enterprise."
The Washington Independent's Dave Weigel was among them, and the scene he describes can only be called "magical," beginning with Smith's opening invocation.
"I'm glad to see this turnout so early in the day," said Smith. (The hearing began at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday)
The lawmakers may have been late to rise, but that was probably because they were up all night, prepping for this super-serious taxpayer-funded evocation of untrammeled paranoia. On display was a new 81-page "supplement" to Issa's previous 99-page anti-ACORN opus, created in accordance with the traditions of November's National Novel Writing Month, apparently.
Attendees got to hear all the old showstoppers:
"President Obama previously served as ACORN's lawyer, participated in ACORN training sessions in Chicago, and presided on the board of two organizations that funded ACORN's Chicago chapter," said Smith. An old picture of Obama in an ACORN office was posted near the hearing stand to bolster his point. "The president's ties with ACORN taint any conclusions the Department of Justice may reach with regard to whether or not to investigate ACORN employees. That's why I've requested that the attorney general appoint a special prosecutor to investigate ACORN."
Plus, they got a new criticism, from Issa: "The current administration is becoming, in reality, the war room for ACORN's political machine." Well, no wonder health care reform is taking so long.
Weigel provides many highlights to enjoy, including one of the best kickers you're likely to read today. As usual, hie thee hence. But my favorite highlight has to be this:
"All of us, maybe with one exception, knew Albert Wynn," said Issa, referring to unpredictable former congressman from Maryland's African-American suburbs of Washington, D.C. "He was well-liked, a good man."
In a short round of questions, Moncrief charged ACORN with conspiring to aid progressive candidate Donna Edwards -- who's currently serving in Congress, having defeated Wynn. "Albert Wynn was pictured next to George Bush," said Moncrief, describing a PowerPoint presentation she saw. "They tried to paint him in a light that he was friendly with George Bush. They wanted to support Donna Edwards, who happens to sit on the board of one of the organizations that supplied money for one of their campaigns."
Of course, what helped immeasurably in the task to "paint him in a light that he was friendly with George Bush," is the fact that Albert Wynn was, in fact, friendly with George Bush. Wynn supported the Iraq War (he was the only member of the Congressional Black Caucus to vote for the joint resolution that authorized it), voted for the Bush/Cheney energy bill and supported the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 2006. It was these decisions that largely played a role in his being thwacked in the Democratic primary by Donna Edwards in 2008, by a 60 to 36 margin.
Rather than fill out his term, Wynn immediately announced his resignation and abandoned his post so that he could go to work for lobbying firm Dickstein Shapiro just as fast as his little legs could carry him. So, yeah, the guy that Issa is lauding was a real stand-up guy.
Louisiana Republican Joseph Cao was on hand as well, but he said his presence was solely to "gather information." He further attested that ACORN "has done some good things in order to address the issues of minorities." So, look for Cao to get pilloried again for being reasonable.
Republicans Demand More ACORN Hearings, Special Prosecutor [Washington Independent]